A Russian Soyuz spacecraft originally slated to bring home two Russian cosmonauts and a NASA astronaut parachuted to a landing in Kazakhstan Tuesday, returning to Earth without a crew due to concerns about overheating following a coolant leak while docked at the International Space Station last year.
NASA’s acting administrator said Tuesday he does not expect Russian cosmonauts to start launching to the International Space Station on U.S. commercial crew vehicles until next year. A proposed agreement with Russia to ensure the space station is always staffed with an international crew is awaiting U.S. government approval.
Russian commander Sergey Ryzhikov, flight engineer Sergey Kud-Sverchkov, and NASA astronaut Kate Rubins climbed into their Soyuz landing craft and undocked from the International Space Station at 9:34 p.m. EDT Friday (0134 GMT Saturday). The trio touched down on the barren steppes of Kazakhstan at 12:56 a.m. EDT (0456 GMT) to wrap up six months in orbit.
Two cosmonauts and a NASA astronaut wrapping up a six-month stay aboard the International Space Station readied their Soyuz ferry ship for a fiery plunge back to Earth early Saturday amid preparations in Florida for launch of another station-bound crew Thursday aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft.